Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg started this season strong, scoring four goals in his first seven games and inspiring talk of a revitalization.
Since then, he's only managed seven assists and hasn't scored a goal in 20 games.
Head coach Jeff Blashill had nothing but good things to say about the struggling captain, and pointed to the positives in his game.
“Z knows that the only way to get himself into a better spot production-wise is just to stay with it and not cheat and not sacrifice the rest of his game,” he said following Tuesday's morning skate. “He has still been a good player. Obviously we need him to produce, he wants to produce. He’s still been very good defensively, he still gets lots of minutes because of that.”
Zetterberg himself clearly isn't enjoying his scoring slump, but has enough experience to know how to work through it and still contribute to the team, though it may not always show up on the scoresheet.
“When you go through tough times like this, don’t doubt yourself or cheat,” he said. “I know it maybe sounds boring, but that’s what you have to do. Try to get into the tough places and eventually the puck will hit you and go in, and that’s all you need to get going again.
“For me, it’s just trying to stay positive and do all the little things right.”
Earlier this October, former Red Wings coach and current Toronto Maple Leafs bench boss Mike Babcock praised Zetterberg, whom he routinely shows video of to Leafs star Auston Matthews on how to model his game.
“He is an elite competitor to say the least,” Babcock said. “He is an elite player and his brain is so good and his puck protection skills are so good, his stick is so good. But above and beyond all those things are his competitiveness. That’s why he keeps playing.”
The Red Wings will continue their homestand on Saturday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena against the St. Louis Blues.